Embattled DA to hold food security summit

Published May 16, 2021, 6:13 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Amid rising food prices, the ravages of African Swine Fever (ASF), and calls for Secretary William Dar to resign, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said it will launch the 2021 National Food Security Summit (NFSS) this Tuesday, May 18.

DA Secretary William Dar (Photo from DA Facebook page)

“We need to sustain and strengthen our food production, distribution and logistics systems as Philippine agriculture faces incredibly challenging tasks in this time of global pandemic, and natural and man-made disasters,” Dar said in a statement Sunday, May 16 wherein details of the two-day event was announced.

President Duterte will keynote the summit’s plenary session virtually on May 18, along with Senators Cynthia Villar and Francis Pangilinan. The theme of the NFSS is, “Food for Today and Beyond: Transforming Philippine Agriculture”.

The DA said summit participants are expected to recommend strategies and policies to help resolve major issues confronting the farming and fishing sectors, and provide inputs to update commodity and industry roadmaps under the new normal.

The 2021 NFSS will also feature talks from several top national and local government chief executives, including United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director General Qu Dongyu.

Breakout workshops combining physical and virtual attendance across major agriculture and fishery industy clusters will also be conducted during the two-day event.

“The global pandemic and the resulting economic crisis continue to add to the growing threats to national food security that is already challenged by various factors such as climate change, increasing population, rising food prices, and the [ASF] that ravaged the local hog industry,” Dar said.

He also emphasized the need to develop regional and provincial strategies that will form part of the national food security blueprint.

“We must always be reminded of our renewed vision and mission: A food-secure and resilient Philippines with prosperous and empowered farmers and fishers, and [making] farming and fishing more profitable, productive, sustainable, and globally competitive so that future shocks such as this pandemic do not threaten food and nutrition security of Filipinos,” the DA chief added.

This will be the second edition of the NFSS under the Duterte administration. The first was held on October 29 to 30, 2019, barely three months after Dar assumed office.